Wildlife sanctuary, must have an Eco Sensitive Zone : Supreme Court

Pashu Sandesh, 19 July 2022

Hon’ble Supreme Court by its judgment dated 3rd June 2022 in I. A. No. 1000 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 202 of 1995, has directed that each protected forest, that is a national park or wildlife sanctuary, must have an ESZ (Eco-Sensitive Zone) of a minimum of one kilometre measured from the demarcated boundary of such protected forest in which the activities proscribed and prescribed in the Guidelines of 9th February 2011 shall be strictly adhered to. This information was given by the Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Ashwini Kumar Choubey in a written reply in Lok Sabha.

Hon’ble Court has further directed that the minimum width of the ESZ may be diluted in the overwhelming public interest. Still, for that purpose, the State or Union Territory concerned shall approach the CEC and MoEF&CC and both these bodies shall give their respective opinions/ recommendations before the Court. On that basis, the Court shall pass the appropriate order.

Within the ESZ notified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, there are activities which are prohibited, promoted and regulated as per the notification.

As per the procedure laid down for notification of ESZ, the draft proposals related to the finalisation of ESZ received from the State Governments are examined in the Ministry before publication. The final notification is published after reviewing the claims and objections received after the draft notification

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has published a draft notification for an area of 56,825 square kilometres spread across six states, namely, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, as the Western Ghats Ecologically Sensitive Area recently on 6th July 2022.